Three-quarters of British shoppers trust that food is what it claims to be, according to a new survey of public attitudes by the Food Standards Agency and approved by the Government Statistical Service.
A representative sample of 1,989 adults interviewed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was surveyed in November 2017, in an exercise that has been carried out since 2001 by Kantar Worldpanel.
The majority reported that they trust that food is what it says it is and is accurately labelled (75%) and 74% trusted the authenticity of ingredients / origin / quality of food. 44% of respondents trusted that people who produce and sell food have their best interests at heart.
The top food safety issues of concern were food hygiene when eating out (36%), food poisoning (30%), chemicals from the environment such as lead in food (29%), and food additives (26%). The top wider issues of concern were the amount of sugar in food (52%), food waste (48%), food prices (46%), and animal welfare (43%). 45% of respondents reported concern about food safety in UK restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways. 42% of respondents reported concern about food safety in UK shops and supermarkets. 84% of respondents reported that they were aware of hygiene standards in places they eat out at or buy food from.
The main ways these respondents were aware of hygiene standards were via hygiene stickers/certificates (61%) and the general appearance of the premises (60%). The main issue respondents thought the FSA was responsible for was ensuring food bought is safe to eat (88%). Of the 78% of respondents aware of the FSA, 70% trusted the FSA to do its job; 75% trusted the FSA to tell the truth in the information it provides.
Salmonella and E-coli were by far the most commonly known types of food poisoning (total awareness of 89% and 82% respectively). Perceived most likely sources of food poisoning were raw chicken or turkey (79%), followed by shellfish (54%), reheated take-away food (47%) and eggs (38%). 18% of respondents were aware of specific rules about allergens, and 10% reported that they have a food intolerance and / or allergy themselves. Most people (70%-77%3) reported feeling confident4 to ask members of staff at food outlets for more information about ingredients in food because of a concern about possible allergens/food intolerance.
90% of respondents agreed that making the right food choices is their responsibility, and 89% feel empowered to make such decisions.